Information had been leaked on Thursday claiming that the details of around 130,000 Morrisons employees had been thieved by a suspected extortionist.
A wealth of information including bank details of the UK Supermarket chain’s staff, from shelf-stackers to executives, was published online and then sent in disc format to a local Yorkshire Newspaper, the Telegraph & Argus.
An initial investigation into the Bradford based chain proved unsuccessful and sparked worries for the public, although Morrisons bosses informed customers that there had been no loss of customers personal data, only that of employees.
Today, on Monday, the West Yorkshire police arrested a Morrisons employee in Leeds for the suspected data theft and suspicion of supplying or making an article for fraudulent use, which leaves the question, what was his motive? Was the reason for his attempt at fraud born out of a disgruntled angst at his position in the company or was it a more elaborate attempt to bring the company into further disrepute?
Either way, a serious breach of this nature needs more roots investigation to uncover how the details were so easily obtained. The European Parliament have recently approved a draft proposal of a data protection law which states that companies could be served a 5% fine on global turnover in the event of a serious breach in data security, although the changes have been publicly opposed by some of the larger European and American Corporations
As the company began a large restructure to maintain their position as ‘smallest of the big four’, this came at a perfectly terrible moment, following the announcement of the chain’s reported £176 million loss, and a warning that profits for the following year would come in at a projected £375 million, half the level of last year’s profits.
This would be the lowest annual profits the company has received in the last five years and announcements to invest £1 billion in a three year price cut plan to win back consumers has yet to offer any hope of the company’s revival.
Shares in the company fell by more than 10% after the warning over profits on Thursday and the resulting data debacle sees shares in the chain continue to plummet leaving the way for super discounters Aldi and Lidl to gain a potential upper hand in the new battle for bottom spot supermarket supremacy.